I remember hearing that women often dress up to impress other women. Like fashion, I think some parents put their parenting skills on display to impress others.
Shameful as it is to admit, I have done it. While I’m hardly a permissive parent, I do admit to picking my battles. I have an intense kid and if I cracked down on every behavior all the time, my kid would hear nothing but negative feedback.
So I’ve adopted Momma Said’s Jen Singer’s approach to differentiating between felonies and misdemeanors. A felony involves safety risks, hurting another person or their property and is never tolerated. A misdemeanor is a milder offense – talking too loudly (a common occurrence in our house), using potty language (also a common occurrence), interrupting me, you get the picture. I know it’s not ideal behavior, but I have bigger battles to fight, so I let it go, or so I rationalize to myself.
Until I meet up with my more buttoned up friends who visibly bristle at this behavior from my children. I feel embarrassed, so I step up my game. I discipline the most minor of infractions. I spend the whole visit cracking the whip. It’s exhausting and probably confusing for my kids, even if I warn them in advance that “Auntie Whoever” doesn’t like potty talk so we have to watch our language when we’re with her.
I’m sure there are many other parents who would judge me for changing my parenting style around certain friends. I’m sure they have some valid points. It stresses me out to pick every battle. But, I like to see these friends. They are really wonderful, fun, kind people and our kids do have fun together. I know the price of getting together means parenting my children to their standards and that is a price I am willing to pay for the hour or two we see each other once a month.
What do you think? Have you ever parented to someone else’s standards? Do you think it’s a bad idea? Likely to permanently damage my children? Please chime in!